Hope at last in the fight to protect FOI?

Yesterday, communities secretary Eric Pickles generated a fair amount of Press with his new guidelines around public access to the decision-making process at local councils. A lot of it will be very familiar to journalists who cover councils: How council meetings work, what access you can expect and what you can request council officers toContinue reading “Hope at last in the fight to protect FOI?”

The council which treats armchair auditors like prisoners of war

Among communities secretary Eric Pickles’ more fanciful boasts (alongside the one about being able to kill off council newspapers without legislating for such) was one that making all council spending over £500 available every month would lead to a new era of transparency thanks to armchair auditors delving into spreadsheets of data.  The truth, soContinue reading “The council which treats armchair auditors like prisoners of war”

Council newspapers: The council with its own newspaper which wants to stifle council debate on its own newspaper

I thought I’d done writing about council newspapers when communities secretary Eric Pickles introduced his new code of conduct which prohibited councils from publishing their own newspapers more than four times a year. Of course, given that Mr Pickles’ rules on council newspapers are a code of conduct, rather than law, there was always aContinue reading “Council newspapers: The council with its own newspaper which wants to stifle council debate on its own newspaper”

Data: Eric Pickles goes on the attack again

Having never been a member of the Conservative Party, I’m not sure how I ended up on the mailing list from Conservative Party HQ. When the latest missive from London arrived today, it was marked up as being from Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, aka slayer of council newspapers and self-styled champion of transparency. InContinue reading “Data: Eric Pickles goes on the attack again”